Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) is an international organization that will be established upon the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, a Convention that outlaws nuclear test explosions. Its seat will be Vienna, Austria. The organization will be tasked with verifying the ban on nuclear tests and will operate therefore a worldwide monitoring system and may conduct on site inspections. The Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO, and its Provisional Technical Secretariat, were established in 1997 and are headquartered in Vienna, Austria.
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty will enter into force 180 days after the Treaty has been ratified by 44 States, listed in Annex 2 of the Treaty, which were designated to have a nuclear reactor or at least some advanced level of nuclear technology. As of August 2008, 41 of these Annex 2 states have signed the treaty and 35 have ratified. India, North Korea and Pakistan have not signed or ratified the treaty; China, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Israel and the United States have signed but have not ratified.
The Preparatory Commission was established in 1997 and is tasked with making preparations for effective implementation of the Treaty, in particular by establishing its verification regime. The main task is establishing and provisionally operating the 337 facility International Monitoring System (IMS), including its International Data Centre (IDC) and Global Communications Infrastructure (GCI). The Commission is tasked also with the development of operational manuals, including a manual to guide conduct of on-site inspections.
International Monitoring System (IMS) and Communications infrastructure
The IMS, when completed, will consist of
- 50 primary and 120 auxiliary seismic monitoring stations.
- 11 hydro-acoustic stations detecting acoustic waves in the oceans.
- 60 infra-sound stations using microbarographs (acoustic pressure sensors) to detect very low-frequency sound waves.
- 80 radionuclide stations using air samplers to detect radioactive particles released from atmospheric explosions and/or vented from underground or under-water explosions.
Data from all stations are transmitted to the CTBTO International Data Centre (IDC) in Vienna through a global private data network known as GCI, which is largely based on satellite (VSAT) links.
States Parties will have equal and direct access to all IMS data, raw or processed, for verification as well as civilian uses. The Preparatory Commission has started the building and verification of the system of which as of April 2011 about 80% was operational.
On Site Inspection (OSI)
If an event detected by the IMS (or by other means) raises concerns about compliance with the basic obligations of the CTBT, an OSI may be conducted to clarify whether a nuclear explosion has taken place. Such an inspection could take place only after entry into force of the Treaty, and would require agreement by at least 30 of the 51 members of the CTBTO's Executive Council. An inspection area of up to 1000 square kilometres would be searched by a team of inspectors (up to 40).
When conducting an On-Site Inspection (OSI), a number of detection techniques can be used. These techniques include passive, resonance and active seismic measurements as well as gravity, electric and magnetic field mappings. Further, noble gas such as Xenon and Argon will be measured on-site. Argon-37 measurement is a unique technology. Data collected from various methods have to be fused and interpreted for decision making purposes. An important task is to explore how recent scientific and technical advances in these technologies can be applied to an OSI.
- Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
- Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation Preparatory Commission
- Global Security Institute
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